The Fruit of the Spirit

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Can we habitually mix righteousness with unrighteousness and please God?

“Every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 7:19 Matthew 7:19Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
American King James Version×
).

“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10 1 John 3:10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.
American King James Version×
).

The Scriptures reveal that God’s children occasionally sin after baptism (1 John 1:8 1 John 1:8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
American King James Version×
). But, if they wish to continue in His favor, they must not only confess to Him but also ask Him to “cleanse [them] from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
American King James Version×
). They cannot please God if they deliberately practice sinning.

However, some habits deeply ingrained from early childhood may not be that easily overcome. Victims of continual abuse during adolescence are a case in point. The effects of such sins tend to foster serious weaknesses in victims of abuse. It may take a long period of diligent striving to finally overcome. Paul put our task this way: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Colossians 3:5 Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
American King James Version×
, NIV). We can accomplish this only through the power of God’s Spirit.

James puts God’s requirements in perspective: “Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh. Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:11-16 James 3:11-16 11 Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
American King James Version×
, NASB).

How does Christ distinguish His true servants from those who are still of this world?

“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:16-17 Matthew 7:16-17 16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
American King James Version×
; compare Philippians 1:9-11 Philippians 1:9-11 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ. 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
American King James Version×
).

What fruit should God’s Spirit produce in us?

“… The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Each aspect of the “fruit” listed here is simply a reflection of God’s character reproduced in us by His Spirit.

How important is love, as an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit, to our spiritual growth?

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 John 13:35By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×
).

“… The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit …” (Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
American King James Version×
).

God is love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
). Love is the foundation of His character. Paul describes ways that God’s love in us should transform our character: “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails …” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; 6 Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
American King James Version×
, NASB). Every other aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is merely a specific expression of godly love.

Is loving those who love us sufficient to please God?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven …” (Matthew 5:43-45 Matthew 5:43-45 43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
American King James Version×
).

By explaining that we should love not only our friends and family but even those who do not love us, Jesus again stresses our need for the extra help of God’s Spirit. We naturally tend to dislike anyone who dislikes us. But that approach simply returns evil for evil. Instead, we should “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 Romans 12:21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
American King James Version×
).

The Scriptures teach that love is a debt we will always owe: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Romans 13:8-9 Romans 13:8-9 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×
, NIV). Love is the basis of all of God’s commandments (Matthew 22:35-40 Matthew 22:35-40 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
). (For a detailed explanation of how God’s law is a law of love request our free booklet The Ten Commandments .)

What are some important ways we should express the spiritual fruit of joy?

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield” (Psalms 5:11-12 Psalms 5:11-12 11 But let all those that put their trust in you rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them: let them also that love your name be joyful in you. 12 For you, LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor will you compass him as with a shield.
American King James Version×
).

“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy” (Philippians 1:3-4 Philippians 1:3-4 3 I thank my God on every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of my for you all making request with joy,
American King James Version×
).

We can especially rejoice knowing that God is always there to help us individually—just as He will help our spiritual brethren scattered throughout the world.

Peter encourages us to rejoice that we can honor God by setting a good example even when we are mistreated through our service to Him. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13 1 Peter 4:12-13 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Is seeking peace with others a significant fruit of God’s Spirit?

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 Matthew 5:9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
American King James Version×
).

“As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:15 Romans 10:15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
American King James Version×
).

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17-18 James 3:17-18 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
American King James Version×
, NASB).

Why is patience a part of the fruit of the Spirit?

“But God made a promise to us, and we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth where goodness lives. Dear friends, since you are waiting for this to happen, do your best to be without sin and without fault … Remember that we are saved because our Lord is patient” (2 Peter 3:13-15 2 Peter 3:13-15 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. 14 Why, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you;
American King James Version×
, NCV).

God has not revealed when the end of this age and Jesus’ return will occur (Acts 1:6-7 Acts 1:6-7 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.
American King James Version×
). But His Word counsels us: “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm …” (James 5:7-8 James 5:7-8 7 Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be you also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

God has an excellent reason for wanting us to have patience. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
American King James Version×
, NIV). In His master plan of salvation God intends to provide an opportunity for everyone who has ever lived to understand His Word and repent.

Therefore He wants us to wait patiently for Him to act on His own timetable. “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Colossians 1:11-12 Colossians 1:11-12 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, to all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks to the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
American King James Version×
, NRSV).

In regard to our relationships with one another we are also admonished: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3 Ephesians 4:2-3 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
American King James Version×
, NIV).

James expresses the same thought: “My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience” (James 1:2-3 James 1:2-3 2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

Should kindness be part of our character?

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10 Romans 12:10Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;
American King James Version×
).

“… You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness …” (Nehemiah 9:17 Nehemiah 9:17And refused to obey, neither were mindful of your wonders that you did among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsook them not.
American King James Version×
; compare Joel 2:13 Joel 2:13And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents him of the evil.
American King James Version×
).

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 Ephesians 4:32And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
American King James Version×
).

Is goodness another godly trait we should emulate?

“… The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD” (Psalms 33:5 Psalms 33:5He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
American King James Version×
).

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalms 107:8 Psalms 107:8Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
American King James Version×
).

“Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You …” (Psalms 31:19 Psalms 31:19Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you; which you have worked for them that trust in you before the sons of men!
American King James Version×
).

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness …” (2 Peter 1:5 2 Peter 1:5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Why are faith and faithfulness essential fruits of God’s Spirit?

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12 Luke 16:10-12 10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
American King James Version×
).

“And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities’ ” (Luke 19:17 Luke 19:17And he said to him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities.
American King James Version×
).

As Jesus establishes His Kingdom after His return, the Scriptures reveal that “those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×
). To participate with Christ in His future Kingdom we must ask God to strengthen us through the power of His Spirit that we may faithfully carry out our obligation to be righteous toward both God and our fellowman.

Another important aspect of faithfulness is simply having faith in God—implicitly trusting Him. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×
). Also: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 Ephesians 2:8For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
American King James Version×
). (To better understand the meaning of faith as discussed in the Bible, be sure to request your free copy of the booklet You Can Have Living Faith .)

Is gentleness part of the fruit of the Spirit?

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart …” (Matthew 11:29 Matthew 11:29Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.
American King James Version×
).

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all …” (2 Timothy 2:24 2 Timothy 2:24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient,
American King James Version×
).

Jesus and Paul both emphasized that we will have a right spirit toward others only if we approach them in a gentle, considerate spirit. Paul reminded the Thessalonians: “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children: 8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted to you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because you were dear to us.
American King James Version×
). God does not want us to treat our fellow human beings harshly. That is not His character. God’s nature is to be merciful, kind and gentle.

Peter encourages women not to emphasize their clothing, their outward appearance, but to develop “the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4 1 Peter 3:4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
American King James Version×
). James tells us that “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits” (James 3:17 James 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
American King James Version×
). We must learn to express a genuine love for others in a kind and gentle manner.

How crucial is self-control as a fruit of God’s Spirit?

“And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you’ ” (Acts 24:24-25 Acts 24:24-25 24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go your way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for you.
American King James Version×
).

Paul mentions self-control, the final in the list of attributes he calls the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
, as one of the three most significant features of his “faith in Christ” as he explained it to the Roman governor of Judea. He ranks it in importance with righteousness and the judgment to come. Why is this character trait so important?

One reason we need the Holy Spirit is to help us control our human nature. In addition to transforming our thinking and perspective, God’s Spirit empowers us to exercise self-control, to live by the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

Why do we need more than knowledge alone to subdue and control our human nature?

“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4 Romans 8:3-4 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
American King James Version×
).

“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:14-17 Romans 7:14-17 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
American King James Version×
).

Paul tells us that having an understanding of what is sin, which must be defined by God’s law, is not enough to overpower and control the pulls and deceit of our human nature. Simply knowing God’s law does not solve our problem. God’s law gives us “the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20 Romans 3:20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
American King James Version×
). Such knowledge is essential to our spiritual growth. And Paul confirms—contrary to the view commonly attributed to him—that we must practice “the righteous requirement of the law” (Romans 8:4 Romans 8:4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
American King James Version×
).

But that is not his main point in these verses. Rather, because of the weakness of our flesh, Paul stresses that we cannot achieve true righteousness by ourselves, by our own efforts. Only by changing our sinful nature to God’s divine nature can we overcome sin. We need our Redeemer—Jesus, the Messiah and our Savior—living in us (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×
) to deliver us from ourselves and make us righteous. Only in this way can we produce the fruit of the Spirit in abundance.

The fruit of the Spirit reflects the goodness, faithfulness and self-restraint inherent in God’s nature. If His Spirit is in us, these traits that are the Spirit’s fruit should also become fundamental characteristics of our nature—that is, as long as we remain “in Christ” and continue serving God from the heart.

How does Peter summarize these spiritual essentials?

“… Do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge; and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and are growing, they will help you to be useful and productive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But anyone who does not have these things cannot see clearly. He is blind and has forgotten that he was made clean from his past sins. My brothers and sisters, try hard to be certain that you really are called and chosen by God. If you do all these things, you will never fall. And you will be given a very great welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-11 2 Peter 1:5-11 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
, NCV).

Peter here stresses how important our spiritual growth is to our maintaining an obedient relationship with Christ now and to our inheriting eternal life in the future.